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all in one spot

December 17, 2008
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Blending families isn’t easy.  While they are by no means perfect, I was blessed to have parents who grew up next door to each other (literally) and grandparents and extended families who had known each other forever (or as long as my parents have known each other anyway).  This made holidays and family events easy for most of my life.  Generally, everyone just went to one spot and that was that.

I think that made me kind of spoiled, and as an adult I’ve struggled to give that up, while trying to forge close relationships with my partners families.  It sounds childish, but sometimes I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t just converge in one spot anymore.  Of course the answer is that there is no one spot, with everyone getting married (and marrying people who didn’t grow up in one particular street in Sacramento).  So inconvenient!

Marrying someone with more than one family hasn’t made things any easier.  I feel like the evil wife who is keeping my husband from his families.  Though all I really want is for us to all be in one spot.  Add to that the logistical problem of us having zero money for traveling far and wide to see people (wah wah wah).  We haven’t really figured out how to navigate this problem yet, and it seems to cause frequent hurt feelings.

For Christmas this year I’d like to be forgiven for my lack of understanding of how to accommodate families spread out all over.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2008 7:01 pm

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for you two to begin your own traditions, this being your first Christmas as a married couple and all. Figure out where you want and can afford to be this year (even if it’s your house) and then promise to go somewhere else next year. You shouldn’t feel guilty for growing up.

  2. Madeleine Dunn permalink
    December 18, 2008 6:31 pm

    I loved Christmas growing up, especially when we got to see you guys. I remember being so close to everyone and seeing Hanna all the time. And I have barely seen her at all for the past two/three years. And now my parents are divorced and Christmas is like this: See my dad and his dad, see Aaron if he’s in town, see my mom, go see my mom’s parents, go see ryan’s mom and step dad, go see ryan’s grandparents, and then go have a big family dinner with his whole family.

    I’m trying to figure out our own kind of tradition now with Lily. What we want to do Christmas day as our own family. It’s not easy to go see everyone, and I’m sure if you told people why, they would understand. It’s not fun to spend your Christmas day going from city to city, really, driving everywhere and barely getting your jacket off before you need to see someone else or else their feelings will get hurt. I’m thinking of just having Ryan’s Family Day one day, and My Family day the next, just to calm things down.

  3. Tom Reed permalink
    December 24, 2008 12:54 pm

    I’m lucky in that both my parents and my wife’s parents live in Chico (although most times I feel it would be easier if we all lived in different cities). Every year it’s the same: Christmas Eve and Crab Cioppino at my in-laws, Christmas morning at our house (just my wife and our kids) and Christmas night and Swedish Meatballs at my parents house. It wasn’t always that easy though…my family’s celebration was always Christmas Eve as was my wife’s. Early on, this created ill feelings and annual conflict on where we would spend that evening. We (like you) were embroiled with feelings of nostalgia and tradition–both wanting things not to change and maintain those electric childhood feelings. Then one year, my brother couldn’t make it to Christmas Eve (because of a girlfriend) so we moved my family’s party to Christmas Day night to accommodate him…it worked out so well for everyone we’ve kept it that way ever since.

    Marriage is hard…HARD. To your credit, you seem to have a good handle on your feelings as well as Paul’s perspective…a good thing. Because of that everything will work out for you just fine and your holdiays will end up something like this: Initially you’ll alternate years as you flip-flop between Thanksgiving and Christmas (even though you do it begrudgingly). Then when you have kids, because you want them to grow up with their own traditions (and wake up in their own home xmas morning), you’ll stay in Sac while you insist your parents and Paul’s parents do the alternating and flip-flopping as they visit you and their grandchildren…they’ll get it and be happy to oblige. At this point you’ll have 25 blissful years to ensconce grand tradition into your own kid’s psyche so they can be consumed with conflict, guilt and/or loss when they become young adults with significant others.

    Merry Christmas.

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